Andrew Carmellini's new French brasserie Lafayette finally opened for dinner service this week, and I stopped by the other day to see if it lived up to the hype. The food was good, and I appreciated Lafayette's distinctive take on classic French favorites, but overall I thought the meal was a 7+.
Why the 7+ rating? Objectively, no dish was all that delicious to me. Slightly inventive tweaks to familiar dishes didn't translate into delicious taste. We ordered the Mediterranean octopus for an appetizer, the linguine noir, the steak frites and a side of broccoli. I loved the linguine noir--the pasta was perfectly al dente and the squid-ink provided a nice brine-y flavor. The steak meat was good but overcooked and the herbs in the bernaise sauce were a little too intense. The broccoli was rather unremarkable. The diners next to us also liked the linguine and the duck, but weren't fans of the dorade.
There's also an in-house bakery that operates during the day, and we decided to order a butterscotch eclair and birthday cake macaron for dessert. Again, the flavors were interesting but not of a Lauduree or Maison Kayser caliber.
Like other Carmellini restaurants, this will be a trendy scenester spot where reservations are hard to come by. I personally think it's a bit overhyped, but the food was solid and I am intrigued enough to try some other items on the menu. There's no showstopper like the meatballs at A Voce or the ricotta at Locanda to nudge the rating to an 8 or a 9. I understand it's only the 1st week, so if other chowhounds try anything incredible I would love to know about it!
You can read a more in-depth review and see pictures in context here: